OT: Does a low-cost, reliable switch exist?

Modulok modulok at gmail.com
Sun Jul 15 02:42:11 UTC 2007

I run a small network of under 20 clients. As such we don't have $500+ to
drop on a Cisco switch. However the desktop consumer grade stuff is quickly
turning me into an insomniac. I'm tired of being woke at 3:00 am to go fix
network problems. Does anyone know if something like this exists? (see

The dream: An ethernet switch that is, above all else, RELIABLE. I would
sacrifice everything for 24/7 reliability. A switch that can operate for
years without ever having to be power cycled, without ever locking up. A
switch that won't lock up if a single client starts flooding it with bogus
packets. A switch that won't try to 'auto-update' its onboard software. A
switch that won't lock up if there is a short in a cable. A switch that
won't lock up if two clients end up with the same MAC address. A switch that
will facilitate the examination and editing of its routing
tables, speed and duplex mode, as my experience with auto-negotiation casts
a very dark shadow upon its reliability. A switch that can loose contact
with a client and when it later regains contact, doesn't freak out and
require a power cycle. A switch that, if it requires an online configuration
interface, doesn't rely on the clients browser to have Java or JavaScript or
Flash enabled, this utterly rapes universal accessability. A switch that
doesn't try to sell itself on a bunch of bullshit features that nobody ever
uses, shown surrounded by pictures of people holding a laptop on one knee
while smiling cheek to cheek. A switch who's case doesn't look like a damn
spaceship, with no ventilation - A rectangular steel case would be fine,
thank you. A switch that doesn't require me to take out a second mortgage.

I know this is asking a lot of a switch that doesn't cost 2 thousand
dollars...but again I'll give up everything for reliability. I had thought
about using a hub instead, but we have some pretty heavy internal traffic.

Currently I'm using 3 Netgear GS108 Gigabit blue-box switches chained
together for local traffic, with a FreeBSD server acting as the gateway to
the outside world, running ipfw and natd. The switches eventually lock up.
Sometimes they work for a day, a week, even a month without problems. Then
at a random time of day or night, boom network goes down. It's not any
individual defective switch as I've tried re-ordering them several times as
well as testing them individually. The cables are all good and wired
correctly. I've pulled my hair out trying to find what's wrong. I'm not sure
I care anymore. I just need something stable enough that I can catch some
sleep without this re-occurring nightmare.

Is there hope? Thoughts? Suggestions?

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